You might be asking yourself, who are these crazy ladies in gorilla masks and how can I get in on whatever shenanigans they're up to?! If you don't already know, the Guerrilla Girls On Tour are just as fantastic as their name implies. They are an anonymous touring theatre company started by three members of the Guerrilla Girls, a group of feminists that has been combating sexism through their art since 1985. When I say anonymous I mean that every Guerrilla Girls On Tour performer always wears a gorilla mask. No exceptions. They also never reveal their real names, instead taking on the name of a famed dead female. Some of the names they use include Aphra Behn, Coco Chanel, and Julia Child among others. This is a brilliant idea, as it keeps the focus off the artists themselves and onto the messages that their collaborative performances convey. Their performances are meant to be outrageous and unique. Through their performance art they have started a dialogue with their audiences on violence against women, reproductive rights, war, sex trafficking, hunger, herstory, sexism, and many other women-centric, race-centric, and sexuality-centric issues. They have presented over 200 performances all over the world, including a recent performance at the MoMA in Bejing, China. They perform in theatres but they also perform in classrooms, art galleries, cafes, community centers, on the street; basically they’ll perform anywhere!
The Guerilla Girls also have brilliant posters that can be downloaded for free from their website. You can start your own crusade against sexism just by putting one up! One of my favorites is this one (because I’m a theatre geek):
The Guerrilla Girls’ 2011-2012 Tour begins October 24th in Florida. Then they’ll go to New York City, Kentucky, Texas, California, Maine, and South Africa. Definitely check them out if you’re near any of the performances!
Here are the descriptions, from the Guerilla Girls On Tour’ website, of the shows they'll be performing:
IF YOU CAN STAND THE HEAT: THE HISTORY OF WOMEN IN FOOD:
A dramatization of the lives and works of world renowned master chef Julia Child, acclaimed food writer M.F.K. Fisher, and the grand dame of southern cooking Edna Lewis. In addition to sharing the rich history of these women, the comedy also focuses on issues surrounding women and food such as body image, nutrition and global hunger. Current local issues and statistics on the relationship of women and food are included in every state and country we perform in.
SILENCE IS VIOLENCE:
The history of Guerrilla Girls On Tour's theatrical antics and actions is combined with a 30 minute section on up-to-date statistics and strategies for combating violence against women. We dramatize one of the biggest problems facing young women today--date rape--offering both awareness and solutions in an upbeat and empowering performance. Local issues are incorporated into each performance making them site specific.
FEMINISTS ARE FUNNY:
A fast and physical romp through the works of some of the most prominent and amusing women of the 20th century as well as the famous visual works, street theatre actions, and excerpts from the current comedies in Guerrilla Girls On Tour's repertoire. We research and include current local issues and statistics on the state of the arts for women in every city we perform in. Hysterical and historical.